\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Definition of crime

1 : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government especially : a gross violation of law
2 : a grave offense especially against morality
3 : criminal activity efforts to fight crime
4 : something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful It's a crime to waste good food.

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Other Words from crime

crimeless \ ˈkrīm-​ləs How to pronounce crimeless (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for crime

offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code. at that school no offense went unpunished sin implies an offense against moral or religious law. the sin of blasphemy vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts. regarded gambling as a vice crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state. the crime of murder scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience. a career ruined by a sex scandal

Examples of crime in a Sentence

She paid dearly for her crimes. evidence that helped them solve the crime He was punished for a crime that he didn't commit. the recent increase in violent crime Being single is not a crime. There's no greater crime than forgetting your anniversary.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Police were searching Saturday for a suspect in a shooting on a residential street in San Jose, but investigators did not release a description or details about what led to the crime. Peter Fimrite,, "San Jose police seek suspect in teen’s shooting," 24 Aug. 2019 Bautista has been charged with accessory to the crime, Migoya said. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Two men arrested in connection with King Soopers shooting in Castle Rock," 23 Aug. 2019 Years later, a serial rapist confessed to the crime, and DNA evidence cleared the five teens. Mark Lieberman, Washington Post, "Asante Blackk just graduated from high school in Maryland. He’s also an Emmy nominee for ‘When They See Us.’," 22 Aug. 2019 The watching world had been stupefied by trials in Moscow when foremost Communists pleaded guilty to crimes of treason they could not possibly have committed. David Pryce-jones, National Review, "The Cold War of Words," 22 Aug. 2019 With the Feds breathing down their necks, Angela gathers Ghost, Tommy and Tasha, warning them to conceal evidence that might link them to crimes. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "'Power' premiere: 50 Cent performs, Starz cast celebrates final season in New York," 22 Aug. 2019 Lachazo admitted to recently using marijuana through a vape and cocaine, police said, but investigators did not say whether that contributed to the crime. Lisa J. Huriash,, "A deadly delivery: 75-year-old woman bashed with mallet and set on fire," 21 Aug. 2019 At today’s hearing, Johnson’s defense attorney Duane Gordon said police don’t have any hard evidence linking his client to the crime. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Man was shot by masked robber during Huntsville drug deal, cop testifies," 21 Aug. 2019 Burlison is also involved in an unrelated $1.2-million fraud case in Santa Barbara, where he is accused of grand theft and being an accessory to a crime. Andy Nguyen, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañadan accused of overcharging client, misappropriating funds loses law license," 16 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crime.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crime

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crime

Middle English, "wrongdoing, sin," borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin crīmin-, crīmen "accusation, charge, indictment, source of an accusation, misdeed, offense," probably from crī-, variant stem of cernere "to sift, discern, decide, determine" + -men, resultative noun suffix (probably originally "decision," then "judicial decision, indictment") — more at certain entry 1

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Statistics for crime

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for crime

The first known use of crime was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for crime



English Language Learners Definition of crime

: an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government
: activity that is against the law : illegal acts in general
: an act that is foolish or wrong


\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Kids Definition of crime

1 : the act of doing something forbidden by law or the failure to do an act required by law
2 : an act that is foolish or wrong It's a crime to waste food.


\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Legal Definition of crime

1 : conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law — compare delict, tort
2 : an offense against public law usually excluding a petty violation — see also felony, misdemeanor

Note: Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. For the most part, common-law crimes are now codified. There is a general principle “nullum crimen sine lege,” that there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct, known as the actus reus, and a concurrent state of mind, known as the mens rea.

3 : criminal activity

History and Etymology for crime

Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on crime

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crime

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crime

Spanish Central: Translation of crime

Nglish: Translation of crime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crime for Arabic Speakers

Comments on crime

What made you want to look up crime? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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